Wrapping Up a Novel Is Like Urgent Macrame

I’m in the home stretch of rewriting The Tiny Giant. I am deleting whole paragraphs in favor of the better writing I’m capable of after 150,000 words of practice. I am crying, sometimes, when the clever bits turn out to be irrelevant, or a sweet moment slows down the action, and they have to go.  I am fist-pumping at the ceiling when the new section is funnier, more adventurous, or just actually makes sense.

In these last few chapters, the whole of the story has to come together in a way that is both interesting (complex) and organic (not distractingly complex).  It makes me tense.  I’m preoccupied with it.  A bit obsessed.  This is where I run into issues.

See…I’m at home all day with the Two Things.  My kids are 4 (almost 5) and 7 (almost 82, he’s wonderfully odd).  I get up and write for a couple of hours if I can manage it before they get up.  Once they stir, there is no more writing.  This doesn’t happen at a nice stopping point.  Right now, at the climax, I’m juggling all the cords of this macramé masterpiece, trying to get the knots connected so the plot doesn’t just crash to the floor.  When I “stop” for the day, I still have these mental threads precariously wound through my imaginary intellectual fingers.  All day.  All I can think about is NOT LOSING MY PLACE.

I take notes, and I leave markers for myself.  I know what’s going to happen (thanks, outline!), and I know what I need to do to get there.  It doesn’t stop me from worrying that somewhere along the way, I’m going to leave a cord out, or tie the wrong knot, and this big piece of mental macramé is going to end up looking like the actual macramé I made in the 7th grade.  I urgently need it not to be as amateurish as my 7th grade plant hanger.  I urgently need to be done.

I will not rush through this last bit just to be done.  There are still 7 chapters left, and they deserve the same attention as all the others, if not more.  I’ll spend the next two weeks tying knots and balancing strings and probably snapping at my family (sorry, family) to see it through to what I hope it can be.  If I seem a little preoccupied, well, it’s just that I’m trying to remember if the blue cord is an over or under cord…

image

Now….what was I thinking with this one?

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